Thursday 7 June 2007

We sit here stranded, though we're all doin' our best to deny it

After a bit of Lord of the Rings Online over the last few days, I'm not sure I'll spend much more time in Middle Earth. It's fun enough and all, but really just more of the same old MMOness. Van Hemlock has a great post, with a quote about Tabula Rasa: '...but Garriott emphasizes that the traditional trading of blows while keeping a sharp eye on your health, shortcut bars, and not much else is just "not great gaming."' That echoes what I posted myself last week about graphics, 'the "oooh, pretty landscape!" effect wears off the 17th time you're running from Bree to the North Downs, and combat involves more squinting at health bars and cooldown timers than admiring flecks of realistically rendered spittle from the Warg trying to bite your legs'.

I think part of the problem is the class I picked, a Captain. I specifically didn't choose a DPS class to break out of my comfort zone, and have come to the frankly shocking conclusion that I'm more comfortable *in* my comfort zone. Captains, being a sort-of-support class with a few heals and buffs, are particularly prone to the combat-as-staring-at-health-bars problem, but I don't think it's only the class that's the problem. I was on a run through the Great Barrows, and it was just a bit... meh. Not much variation in encounters, no great excitement, couple of bosses, this one spawns waves of non-elite beasties, hey ho. Boss encounters in particular can be really dragged out affairs, due to power problems; you can either go in all-abilities-blazing, be out of power in the first 30 seconds and spend the next couple of minutes auto-attacking every three seconds, or carefully husband your power, which involves... auto-attacking every three seconds, to maintain enough power for an infrequent heal/special attack/buff application. There's nothing really frustratingly terrible about the game, but then there's nothing spectacularly good, and different, enough to really keep me there. Still, a change is as good as a rest, and has convinced me my forte lies with classes that don't need you to pay any attention to anyone else's health bars.

There's always something to keep me in City of Heroes, though; the costume creator, if nothing else. I've been there three years now; I can tell, 'cos you get Veteran Rewards every three months, and I've just got the "Addicted" badge for 36 months subscription. It's just so pick-up-and-play-able... log in, select mission, beat up wrongdoers. I'll probably mix that up with some single player gaming for a bit, while keeping an eye out for new stuff to play.

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